APEC leaders learn about waka and Aucklanders hear it cost $30m to encourage walking and cycling on just one street

We confess to being bemused by some of the latest Beehive announcements and pronouncements.

Auckland became a harbour of waka, in the PM’s remarks to APEC leaders who – we suspect – might not know what a waka looks like.

Then there are moves afoot to protect us – from what?

To protect us from what we might read, view or hear, it transpires.

Less puzzling was news of Government tax proposals that – it is sure – will dampen investor demand for existing houses and so bring down house prices.

“The proposals we are releasing today will help to achieve that goal,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.  

His confidence is admirable.

Oh, and we learned how much it has cost – $30 million – to widen the footpaths of Karangahape Road and reduce the roadway to discourage emission-spewing motor vehicles by establishing cycle paths.

Nurses, meanwhile, are bridling against their  pay … Continue reading “APEC leaders learn about waka and Aucklanders hear it cost $30m to encourage walking and cycling on just one street”

We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise

Our Beehive bulletin

The Government’s ban on new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels perhaps ranked as the most important Beehive announcement yesterday.

It was the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s draft package of advice to Government in February and was accompanied by the distribution of dollops of corporate welfare to  the successful applicants in round one of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

Fourteen companies will receive $22.88m in co-funding to help their businesses transition away from fossil fuels.

The ban on new coal boilers used in manufacturing and production will come into effect by 31 December.

A consultation document for other coal proposals can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

The energy announcement was one of several to emerge during a busy day in the Beehive, many of them enabling Ministers to bray about the big bucks (or small ones) they were throwing around. Continue reading “We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise”

Tinetti’s teaser – to whom was she talking when she delivered a Moot Speech about teaching and truancy?

Our Beehive bulletin

Oh goody – a guessing game has been provided by the clever people who post announcements, speeches and what-have-you on the Beehive website.

It was delivered in the name of Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti – by her press secretary, perhaps? – in the form of a teasing headline.

Learning Support, Curriculum, Attendance – NZPF Moot Speech

NZPF?  Which one?

We put the challenge aside while checking out the other news from the Beehive,

  • Amelia Setefano and Marina McCartney have been selected as inaugural recipients of the Ministry of Education’s Tagaloa scholarship, which supports Pacific Doctorate and Masters study.
  • Three Auckland schools are benefitting from a $1.3 billion nationwide school redevelopment programme. May Road School, Onehunga Primary School and Albany Primary School are getting new classrooms to replace those in poor condition, and will benefit from investment in projects to support expected increases in student numbers.

And now to identifying the audience to whom Tinetti delivered her NZPF Moot Speech.

The possibilities (because you could say learning and attendance are involved in all of them) include:  Continue reading “Tinetti’s teaser – to whom was she talking when she delivered a Moot Speech about teaching and truancy?”

Young Maori (but only in three regions) will benefit from a $5.4m training package while the PM opens the border (just a teeny bit)

Our Beehive Bulletin

The racially targeted spending of $5.4 million – or “positive discrimination”, if that’s what you prefer to call it – was announced today in a statement which mentioned the impact of Covid-19 as part of the rationale.

The money will help up to 150 Māori train and gain qualifications in Tairāwhiti-East Coast, Northland-Tai Tokerau and the Bay of Plenty.

The PM brought more Covid-19 news at the weekend, after coming under pressure from political opponents and some commentators to ease the economic damage done by measures to curb the pandemic and open the country to more visitors (in tune with appropriate safeguards, of course).

She has obliged – well, sort of – by announcing that passengers from Niue can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand on Wednesday 24 March NZT (Tuesday 23 March Niue time).

“Niue has no reported cases of COVID-19 and its stringent border controls mean we can be confident it is safe to commence quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from Niue,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Among other Beehive pronouncements – Continue reading “Young Maori (but only in three regions) will benefit from a $5.4m training package while the PM opens the border (just a teeny bit)”

APEC gets our PM as its new leader (along with an overhaul of its Vision to improve the wellbeing of all its people)

The PM moves fast.  Yesterday she announced she would attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events “virtually”.  Early today – the second and final day of this event – she announced she has taken over the leaderhsiup of APEC.  

We imagine she has done this with much less difficulty than Joe Biden is having in taking over leadership of the USA from a highly aggrieved and capricious Donald Trump.

These APEC announcements were among several posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order last reported on how our ministers are earning their keep.

Most of the others assured us we were prudent not to turn off the Point of Order Trough Monitor simply because Shane Jones no longer can dispense handouts from the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund and/or the One Billion Trees programme.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is a dab hand at dispensing, goodies, too, and has stepped up to the plate to announce more than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago as well as improving long-term land management practices. Continue reading “APEC gets our PM as its new leader (along with an overhaul of its Vision to improve the wellbeing of all its people)”

Once known as “mother’s ruin”, it is made all over NZ – including Reefton (where there’s govt funding in the financial mix)

The West  Coast has been the focus of two lots of good news from the Beehive in the past 24 hours or so.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially opened Te Nikau Hospital and Health Centre in Greymouth and then turned the first sod at the Buller Health Centre site in Westport.

Meanwhile we learned the Reefton Distilling Company had been granted a loan of almost $1 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.

The loan was one of three newly announced spending and/or lending decisions:

  • Climate Change Minister James Shaw has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean energy alternatives. He has named 18 schools in the latest batch to benefit from this funding.
  • The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund loan to help move its distillery to bigger premises and buy the equipment it needs to expand operations.
  • Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native flora on the Kōwhairoa Peninsula Historic Reserve at the entrance of Whangaroa Harbour.

Being fond of a good gin, the team at Point of Order has kept on eye on the West Coast distillery since late in 2017 when we read:

A new business is looking to turn pure West Coast rainwater into gin, liqueurs and eventually whisky.

Reefton Distilling Co. will open its doors next year in the West Coast town that shares its name, co-founders Patsy Bass and Sean Whitaker said.

Six people would be employed, including the co-founders, in the first 12 months of operations.

In February 2018 the news was that Reefton Distilling Co had passed the minimum target for its current capital raising and co-founder Patsy Bass hoped it would  hit $1.5m by the time it closed later that month.

An update earlier this year was headed Reefton Distilling Co reaches $2m investment target

A West Coast distillery has raised more than $2 million to expand its Little Biddy Gin operation. 

Reefton Distilling Co reached its first target of $2m within two weeks of releasing its public investment offer. 

The company opened in October 2018 and scooped six awards in its first six months. 

Founder and managing director Patsy Bass said securing the minimum $2m of equity investment now provided the company with access to several debt financing options to expand the business and build new premises. 

 At that time the company had applied to Development West Coast for $1.85m of commercial finance to fund land, buildings and fit out costs.

The business had quickly outgrown its current space and had new premises under contract, with due diligence nearing completion.

According to the report which advised us of these developments:

Bass said the new site would allow Reefton Distilling Co to employ up to 50 people and expand its range of products, including its much-awaited Moonlight Creek Whisky.

And now the government is in for a dram or two of the action.

Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced the company will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund loan to help move its distillery to larger premises and buy the equipment it needs to expand operations.

Shane Jones said the craft distillery was growing rapidly.

“The distilling company began operating only two years ago but it is already proving hugely successful, so much so that it has outgrown its existing premises.

“Demand for the distillery’s international award-winning products is increasing and the $1.86 million expansion project will allow it to keep up with that demand, grow production and host more tourists,” Shane Jones said.

O’Connor said the relocation and fitout of the distillery would provide local construction jobs and significant spending in the region. Construction work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

“The expansion has created another seven to eight fulltime jobs, with more expected to be created in early 2021, in addition to existing fulltime permanent staff and casual workers.”

The new development will also provide education and training opportunities for youth through part-time employment, work experience and internship programmes.

Oh – and let’s not forget the environmental benefits.

Shane Jones said the Reefton Distilling Co was also increasing its environmental sustainability.

“The distillery is already working with the Department of Conservation to grow its sustainable use of native botanicals to flavour spirits, as well as collecting rainwater, considering solar energy and using a bio-mass boiler to power its stills.”

The gin business is booming, of course, and we are sure the 50 or so other distillers will be heartened to know where to go if they need a financial tonic.

Once upon a time the stuff they are producing was known as Mother’s Ruin,  although we are sure all of the Kiwi products are of a hugely superior quality.  We are willing to put this confidence to a taste test and are contemplating an application to the PGF for the money we would need to conduct the first Point of Order quality trial.

Latest from the Beehive

 25 SEPTEMBER 2020

Tuvalu Language Week theme promotes community resilience in the face of COVID-19

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the 2020 Tuvalu Language Week theme of “Fakatili Te Kiloga Fou” which means “Navigating

International sport back up and running in New Zealand

The Government is welcoming today’s announcement that the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams will tour New Zealand

Better health care for West Coasters as Te Nikau Hospital officially opened

The Government has delivered a new hospital for Greymouth and is starting work on a much needed new health centre in Westport, ensuring local communities will benefit from better access to high quality integrated health services.

Government backing local with PGF loan

A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced.

 24 SEPTEMBER 2020

Primary sector exports and jobs up again

Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery.

 Clean energy future for more schools

Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today.

Jones breaks the Northland drought with the first shower of PGF millions since away back on June 11

Latest from the Beehive

Shane Jones, the Minister of Munificence,  in a joint statement with fellow Northlander and Deputy PM Winston Peters, wrapped up a week of handout investment announcements with news of more millions for the people of his patch in the Far North.  This time it was a sum of $7.5 million to help Northland ventures combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus.

The good people of the region would have been delighted.  They hadn’t heard from their PGF benefactors since … how long has it been?

Oh, yes.  Almost a fortnight.   Back on June 19 Jones attended a blessing on the site where a small-scale facility will be built as part of a water storage development intended to help a Far North iwi use its land for higher value horticulture.

But there had been no announcement of new money since June 11, when a further $37.5 million investment on water storage was announced.

The announcement yesterday was that the PGF is giving  the Northern Adventure Experience a $5.59m funding boost and the Queenstown Resort College will receive $1.96m for a project to help retain and up-skill up to 250 tourism and hospitality employees “to tell the important stories of the region”. Continue reading “Jones breaks the Northland drought with the first shower of PGF millions since away back on June 11”

Hipkins moves from dishing out free lunches to overseeing free health – and $10m is poured into the new “events” trough

There’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Tell that to Chris Hipkins, who is braying about Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island.

Mind you, he now will be enthusing about free health after landing the Health portfolio after David Clark’s resignation.

While we were tidying up this post, the PM announced she was appointing Hipkins as Health Minister “until the election”.  She said she had full confidence that Hipkins would oversee the portfolio “with the thoroughness and diligence he brings to his other areas of responsibility”.

Earlier this morning Hipkins was announcing that “the Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme” is moving south for the first time, creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland.

Details are sparse, but we assume Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and the West Coast have been bypassed in this push south. Continue reading “Hipkins moves from dishing out free lunches to overseeing free health – and $10m is poured into the new “events” trough”

Here’s how more millions were being spent while the media spotlight was on the National leadership drama

On the National side of the political divide, the caucus yesterday voted to be led by a bloke reported to have  fantasised in his childhood about being elected vice-president, becoming president “upon the very unfortunate death of the then-President”, and proceeding to serve 13 consecutive terms.

The Daily Blog has drawn our attention to this fantasy, which Todd Muller – the new leader – included in his maiden speech in Parliament. 

The Daily Blog’s Martyn Bradbury then insists that National are going to lose the next election “because Jacinda is a phenomena” and no matter who led National the party would STILL be polling 30%!

Whether the promotion of Muller to the leadership will result in the political death of Simon Bridges remains to be seen, but yesterday was a good day for the government to announce something unpalatable – while the media’s preoccupations were with happenings in the National Party.

The government does not seem to have done this and its publicity machine released just a few statements – run-of-the-mill stuff, actually, except that millions of dollars of our money are involved.

But even on a quiet day for the Beehive Ballyhoo Brigade you can count on Shane Jones pushing to win some media space.

Continue reading “Here’s how more millions were being spent while the media spotlight was on the National leadership drama”